Cover Image: Of Literature and Lattes

Of Literature and Lattes

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Member Reviews

Thank you, Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Of Literature and Lattes is one of those books where a lot is going on. It features a wide cast of characters, many of which are going through their own struggles, and it bounces back and forth between multiple perspectives. Overall, it’s a book about forgiveness: forgiving yourself and forgiving others.

My favourite thing about this book was that it takes place in a small town. I love stories that take place in small towns because I love the sense of community that the characters have. Winsome is one of those communities where everyone knows everybody, and they’ve been there for each other during good times and bad. This book is full of moments that show the sense of community Winsome has, and I just loved reading about it.

Now to talk about the two main characters Alyssa and Jeremy. I wasn’t the biggest fan of either of them, but they did have some redeeming moments. I found Alyssa’s attitude to be annoying, and I thought that some of the things she said to her mother were incredibly rude. I understand that she was under a lot of stress and that she didn’t have the best relationship with her mother, but I don’t think that’s an excuse to be as terrible as she was. I found myself shaking my head at Jeremy a lot because I felt like a lot of his problems could have been avoided if he would have done more research before opening his coffee shop and paying more attention. I did really like his relationship with his daughter, and I loved reading the scenes they had together. Fortunately for both main characters, they both eventually learned how to forgive themselves and others, which made me like them more towards the end of the book.

One thing that I found a bit confusing at times was the shifting between different perspectives. Winsome is home to a lot of people, and it took me a while to figure out who they all were. Once I got a better idea of who each character was, and what role they had in the community, I started to appreciate the different perspectives more. What started as a confusing mix-mash of characters, eventually turned into a cozy community that I felt apart of.

This brings me to my next point, which is there was a lot of stuff going on with this book. There were the two main characters, and their many problems, but then different members of the community also had things going on. There was Janet, who was trying to be a better person and find her true self. There was George, who was dealing with his wife’s decline in health and the changing community around him. There was the new priest, who was trying to figure out if he could belong in the community. All of these things made the community feel whole, even if it was confusing to keep track of at times. Some of the issues that come up in this book include Alzheimer’s, found family, addiction, infidelity, and many more.

Finally, I want to take a second to talk about the romance in this book. There is some romance, it’s predictable, and in my opinion, it’s only a minor plot point.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t my favourite. I liked the sense of community and the small town, but I wasn’t thrilled with the two main characters. I liked that this book touched upon a lot of different issues, but at times I found it confusing to keep track of everything that was going on.
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Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay takes the reader back to Winsome, Illinois and the shops around the town square last visited in The Printed Letter Bookshop. Janet’s daughter, Alyssa, has returned home after a scandal closes her workplace in California. Jeremy has moved to Winsome to be closer to his daughter, Becca. He opens Andante, the coffee shop in the square. As with The Printed Letter Bookshop, this is a story of forgiveness, grace, mercy, friendship and family. The characters are lovely people but as in life, not all their stories are finished by the end of the book. I love a good series set in twins like Winsome, Illinois. I look forward to visiting again! 

Thank you to #Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced e-copy.
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If you like second chance romance books, this fits the bill. A bit twee for me, but still a nice little light tale to get me through the pandemic. nice for reading in the garden sipping a homemade latte
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I enjoyed the sample of this book in the Buzz book sampler so I was confused when I started this book as the beginning is completely different. Unfortunately this book reads like a draft that needed a lot of editing and feels like coming into a series of books without the backstory. While the description, and my own interest, was with Alyssa and Jeremy this book is cluttered with other characters that only distract from the story. I say cluttered because they only pass through and bring the story down because we don’t know who they are, so we certainly don’t care, and they always bring dire news of ill health, death and loss in their wake, and those are the characters that make sense. There are a couple of other chapters, like a pastor, who are never explained when they show up. I think the author wanted to tell a story about a quirky town and felt the need to add in all these unnecessary characters. I looked the author up and sure enough there is another book set in this town that would probably be better to read before starting this one. 

This book has a lot of heavy issues about relationships and family and is certainly not the lighthearted book I expected. There is Alyssa’s rift with her mom and Jeremy establishing a relationship with his daughter and dealing with his ex-wife and own history from his childhood. A huge pet peeve of mine with books is when the description does not match the book and unfortunately that is the case here. I would not characterize this book at all as a romance because if anything Allyssa and Jeremy’s budding relationship is hardly more than a footnote in this book. The bigger picture is very much the town and heavy relationship issues. I also found the book far too saccharine with its cast of characters feeling far too much like a Hallmark movie than real life. The characters and constant references made it very obvious what one big surprise would turn out to be. This could be the right book if it were marketed to the right reader which it was not in my case by the misleading description. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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A novel rather like a good cup of coffee: bitter and sweet at the same time, somewhat complex, and a perfect way to take a break and relax in the midst of a crazy world. There, I got that cliche out of the way--it just had to be written. Luckily, Katherine Reay is less susceptible to cliches, as her newest book manages to feel surprisingly original. And as I said: if you need a relaxing pick-me-up (that will remind you of times when book clubs weren't all on zoom and church services were allowed and crowded restaurants were seen as a good thing), this might be just your cup of tea. Er... Coffee.
Altogether, it's not my favorite of Reay's books, mostly because I think it's vastly more readable if you're familiar with the first book in the series, The Printed Letter Bookshop (which I loved). Do yourself a favor and find that one--then come back to Of Literature and Lattes for dessert.
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This book was not for me. 
I immediately disliked that there was so many POV. I thought this would be a romance with just 2 main characters. 

I really wanted to like it but I just couldn’t get into it.
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Katherine Reay's Of Literature and Lattes was just an okay read for me. It is worth the read but not my favorite by this author. I will give it three stars.
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Of Literature & Lattes is Katherine Reay’s follow-up to The Printed Letter Bookshop, which I finally read and reviewed just last week. In this new novel, we return to the town of Winsome, Illinois — home of an amazing bookstore, lots of cute shops, and people who get what community is all about.

The story follows two main characters: Alyssa, returning with dread to her hometown after a disastrous stint in Silicon Valley, and Jeremy, a grown-up with a sad childhood behind him, looking to spend more time with his daughter and investing everything in a new coffee shop.

For Alyssa, nothing has worked out as intended, and she seems like the walking embodiment of someone having baggage. After her parents’ divorce three years earlier, she sided with her father, cut her mother out of her life, and moved as far away as she could get. Alyssa’s magic with numbers and coding landed her a great job at a medical start-up — but her world crashes down sudddenly when it turns out that the company was nothing but a fraud, and what’s worse, provided false information to people about future diagnoses of awful illnesses.

Wracked by guilt and totally broke, Alyssa has no choice but to head home — where nothing is as expected. Alyssa’s mother is Janet, one of the main characters in The Printed Letter Bookshop, and Janet has changed dramatically. Alyssa expects to be able to hide out at her father’s apartment, but instead, he forces her to face her mother. As Janet and Alyssa spend time together, they form new understandings and realize that they have a lot of work to do to overcome the harmful patterns of their past, if they ever hope to have a relationship in the future.

Meanwhile, life for Jeremy is complicated too. His 7-year-old daughter Becca lives nearby, and he’s relocated from Seattle to be with her. Jeremy invested all his savings into buying the local coffee shop from its retiring owner, dreaming of turning it into a modern, successful business. The problem is, the locals don’t share his vision — and as he transforms the cozy, shabby coffee shop into something sleek and streamlined, the daily traffic plummets.

Jeremy is a good guy and his heart is in the right place, but he has to learn to step back and understand what community is all about if his business is going to survive — and if he’s serious about creating a new home for himself and for Becca.

There’s a lot to love about Of Literature & Lattes. First of all, the town of Winsome is just as charming as in the previous book. It’s an idealized version of small-town homey-ness, and wouldn’t we all love to find a place like that to belong?

The people here seem to really care about one another, and while yes, they are all up in each other’s business a little more than I’d personally care for, this connection comes out in all sorts of ways that are heart-warming and important.

Alyssa and Janet spend a lot of this book at odds, and it’s messy and a little terrible, but also feels real. Their dynamic goes back years, and has as much to do with Janet’s feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction as with their actual relationship. It’s not easy for them to sort out all the ways in which they’ve hurt and misunderstood one another, but over the course of their months together, they make major strides — and find that they both truly want to make things better.

For Jeremy, the relationship with his ex Krista is difficult, and his business isn’t going as he’d hoped. He starts off very focused on his own vision — an outsider who thinks he knows what the town needs. It’s only when he allows himself to admit that he needs to learn that he starts to connect with the community in a real way, realizing that a coffee shop that’s perfect but lacks heart just isn’t going to cut it.

Once again, I really enjoyed the author’s way of weaving personal stories into a bigger picture of a community. I enjoyed seeing the familiar characters from the previous story, as well as meeting Alyssa and Jeremy and seeing how they fit into the greater whole.

While Of Literature & Lattes could work as a stand-alone, I’d recommend reading The Printed Letter Bookshop first. I’m glad I did! OL&L is touching and lovely, but it’s so much richer when set into the context of the larger story, and I think without the previous book, many of the connections would have gone right by me without leaving an impression.

Another heart-warming story from author Katherine Reay — and yes, plenty of book talk too!
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I'm going to start off by saying that this isn't usually the genre I gravitate towards. I usually like things fluffier and more romantic. With that being said, I honestly couldn't put this book down. I don't like Christian fiction because it can feel "preachy" and I'm not a hugely religious person. Luckily this book didn't feel that way at all. There were some Christian values and aspects but it complimented the people in such a good way. There were a ton of characters in this book and the transition between characters was very  unique. It was so fluid to be with one person's mind and after a quick transition sentence to be with another character. It was so different from what I've ever read and it was done flawlessly. I love how every person has their own difficulties and complexities and how each story ties into one another. It had a great sense of community and struggles within one's own. For not being something I would have normally picked up, I really connected, not necessarily the characters, but their struggles and how relationships are both simple and completely, incredibly complex. I guess I just appreciated how the author was able to delve into the relationships so fully and made them seem so real.
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I loved this book! It was set in a small town and it had a book store and coffee shop *sigh and scream* it was everything. It pretty much taught me how to appreciate the art of letting go  and embracing new changes. I could not put it down! Loved it. Thank you Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for my copy in exchange of an honest review
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Wow! What an emotional rollercoaster! I fell in love with the characters in this book. The author has such a talent in creating mental pictures for the reader. I loved all the layers of this story. I am really hoping this story continues in another book.
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I wanted to like it but I think I came in with the wrong expectations. I'm usually a huge fan of anything small town, cozy, bookshops, a sweet love story but it didn't click for me this time. It could've been that I never quite warmed up to Alyssa, though I did like Jeremy more, or that I don't typically go for mother-daughter storylines. 

Also, the cast of characters seemed unnecessarily large for the story being told which led to moments of confusion when a name would come up but wasn't really important for the plot. The additional characters are likely the cause of the book's length too as the plot was a bit slow. I hate to be such a bummer because I can see that others really enjoyed it. I would still recommend it to other readers who are fans of the genre though. Just because it wasn't my cup of coffee doesn't mean it won't be someone else's. 

Note: The honest review above would not have been possible without the digital ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher. Thank you to them and the author for the opportunity to read and review it.
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Thanks to #First Editions for suggesting this book and #netgalley for supplying the ARC. This was a lovely read. It was not very deep. If you like small towns, book stores, coffee shops, romance, and family drama you will like this book. It was an easy read but it kept you wanting more. I have to say I did not care for the main character, Alyssa Harrison. I found her to be selfish and self centered. The author did try to redeem her at the end but it didn't work for me. I did like her best friend, her mom, her boyfriend and little Becca (her boyfriend's daughter). And I really wanted a cup of that wonderful coffee!
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Lighthearted, smart, witty and fun! That’s what I felt with this book by Katherine Reay.

I went in expecting lots of romance, but I was greeted with a whole slew of interesting characters that have so much to say. It’s my first book by Katherine Reay and won’t be my last, even though I only realised halfway through the book that it’s the second in a series. It wasn’t the best book I’ve read this year, but it was definitely an intriguing one.

Some thoughts
* Alyssa and Jeremy, the two leads, are very complex characters with their own dramas. But that’s what makes them so interesting is that they come from different worlds with so much else going on, that they still manage to find each other
* Their story wasn’t the focus, which was a little disappointing, but you do get to see some of them here and there
* There were a lot of viewpoints. It’s written in third person, but almost everybody in the town of Winsome gets a say. And switching from Alyssa to Jeremy to Janet to Seth to Ryan and then back got a little confusing
* I absolutely loved the town of Winsome. I like small town books because everybody knows everybody else and it’s always a warm and fuzzy feeling
* Alyssa and Jeremy’s relationship was a little too fast paced. They met very randomly when she stepped into his coffee shop and then the next thing, they’re kissing and then they’re texting and they’re in a relationship. The build up was a little underwhelming for a book that was supposed to be about their romance.
* I love that Alyssa has such an interesting job and how everyone needs her help to get through whatever issues they’re facing
* Alyssa’s relationship with her mother was also absolutely perfect and I loved how raw their arguments and conversations and fights were.
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Since I've discovered Katherine Reay I've discovered books that make me giddily fangirlish. This book does not disappoint. Seriously her way with words are just...... it's just. A quote from this book sums it up perfectly what this book is, in fact what all her books are. "Reading is therapy".

This book is a part two without being a part two of "The Printed Letter Bookshop" (TPLB). You do not have to read TPLB in order to read this book comfortably, but since it was such a wonderful book you should. We meet again many characters that we enjoyed but this is a completely stand alone book with it's own new set of characters and quirks.

As a book with other books interweaved within it's pages you get tales within tales. Even if you have never read a book mentioned you wonder at the other level of what is spoken about or is happening. I find that I get so much out of what isn't said from the mention of a book or character because those books meant something to me that may be different and adds another level to my current reading. "Of Mice and Men" from High School Literature class and all I experienced there.

The characters are far from one dimensional and they take you along on their journey that invokes a journey of your own. Whether you agree with a character or not you are presented with your own opportunity for growth, for grace and for understanding.

Just in case it wasn't clear, I loved this book.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This is a well written story with good characters and a lovely setting. It just wasn’t for me. Small town romance is usually well in my wheelhouse of happiness but this wasn’t as romance focused as I wanted it to be. If your taste isn’t as romance dependent then I think this would be a story you would enjoy. Plus bonus points for having an adorable kid in the mix. I also think it might be good to read the first book before this one. While this can be a standalone I get the feeling that I might have hooked into it more if I came to it having already read the first one.
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“She’d read it somewhere---something about the fact that after taking a wrong turn, traveling further down the road doesn’t get you any closer to your destination. You have to go back in order to go on.”
--Alyssa

Welcome to Winsome, the quaint little town north of Chicago where we first visited The Printed Letter Bookshop in Katherine Reay’s last novel. Step into Andante, the town’s newly upgraded coffee shop with its chic décor and excellent coffee. Jeremy Miller and his partner, Ryan, are the new business owners in town trying to figure their way around town. Meet Alyssa Harrison, daughter of Janet Harrison, one of the owners of The Printed Letter Bookshop.

Alyssa and Janet’s stormy and volatile relationship intensifies as Alyssa’s move back to town brings a great deal of emotional family drama into their life. Peeling away the layers of the past is the only way forward for these two women. Alyssa comes across as a spoiled, unlikable character through a great deal of the story as she struggles with her life choices. Only as she comes to term with owning her issues does she become a person with whom I could empathize. 

As Jeremy struggles to understand life and business in a small town, he undergoes a great deal of emotional turmoil and joy in building a relationship with his young daughter. Jeremy and Alyssa cross paths and find common ground as the new people in town each struggling with their own problems. 

The story has a great deal of emotional depth and angst. Once again community, family, friendship and love rule the story. Readers of women’s fiction and coffee lovers will be entertained by this book! 

This copy was received from Thomas Nelson.  The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
#OfLiteratureAndLattes #NetGalley
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For various reasons, Jeremy and Alyssa find themselves in the small town of Winsome, Illinois. This quaint little community has Jeremy Mitchell moving to be closer to his child and to open the coffee shop he’s always dreamed of. But the town isn’t so sure if they like all the renovations and updates he’s making to their old familiar shop, including changing the name. So will his move end up being in vain?

Alyssa Harrison, who quickly left her hometown three years earlier, never planned to return. She was mad and blamed her mother for her parents’ divorce, and Alyssa had landed an enviable job in Silicon Valley. So she left in a whirlwind. But she has returned out of necessity. Her employer has closed and is under an FBI investigation. This means Alyssa is nervous about her possible involvement and she is without income. She hopes her dad will allow her to stay with him until she can figure out what to do. But things don’t always work the way you hope they will.

The story centers around Jeramy and Alyssa’s struggles and growth, both with family issues and trying to find where they belong in a town that has both changed and yet remained the same.

My Thoughts

A – While there was much to love about this book, it didn’t totally work for me. The storyline felt a bit here and there. And the characters missed their chance to pull me into their stories by having too many issues.

B – It was fun to see so many references to older books and the way the theme carried them throughout the story.

C – Because both Jeremy and Alyssa find themselves struggling to work through family concerns and work-related concerns, they gradually migrate toward each other. A relationship slowly begins to blossom. But since the book has so many subplots, even their romance ends up feeling disappointing.

NOTE:
After reading this, I discovered that there is an earlier book, The Printed Letter Bookshop, which you might want to be aware of. Though Of Literature and Lattes felt like a standalone book, sometimes it’s nice to start at the beginning. The backstory can provide so much more insight and richness to a novel.

What Concerned Me
Please don’t misunderstand my concerns to mean that I don’t recommend this book. On the contrary, I enjoyed it. I just felt that

1. here were way too many subplots
2. Alyssa acted more like a spoiled teenager at times than her true age
3. the main characters needed to be fleshed out and their concerns addressed more fully

What I Liked
Recently I’ve read several stories that centered around a smalltown. This book did bring that feel to the story. Many of the characters reacted with emotions that felt believable to a close-knit community. Bottom Line –the town felt huggable.

I also liked the underlying thread of concern and love that ran through the story.

I received this ARC from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Books. All opinions in this review are my own.
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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Katherine Reay has frequently been recommended to me by some of my favorite inspirational writers, particularly her Austen inspired books. So, I was eager to give her a try with her latest, Of Literature and Lattes. And while it has a good idea at the heart of it, I just didn’t care for the execution. 

I love the cozy small town atmosphere, and hearing that she has another book set in the same small town is exciting, as I know what I might check out next. And of the characters and storylines, I enjoyed Jeremy and his relationship with his daughter Becca.

However, I never fully felt invested in Alyssa’s story, and there’s a plethora of other characters who I found too hard to keep track of. 

Admittedly this is a bit of an odd book in a genre I don’t read often (small town contemporary), so I think your mileage may vary when it comes to whether you enjoy this one. If you’ve been a fan of this genre in the past or like this author, I think you should make the call for yourself.
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this book was just a little too boring for me. i wanted tolike it but i just couldn't like it as much as i wanted to like it. you know what i mean jelly bean?
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